Thursday, August 7, 2014

A luxury hotel, an iPad and a thwarted night of passion

Imagine you're having a night of passion with your partner in a luxury hotel in the Chinese city of Shenzhen. Suddenly, the lights start to switch on and off. The blinds open and close for no reason. That would cut your carnal appetite, right?

Security analyst Jesus Molina could have broken up to 200 moments of ardor at the St. Regis luxury hotel in Shenzhen when he began to investigate how the iPad provided by the hotel to control the lights and blinds of his room worked. He discovered that the such system implemented an old protocol called the 90 KNX/IP, which is widely used in China and Europe for hotel device automation. Although it has been released a new version adding some security features since then, a few users have updated. So Mr. Molina took advantage of its weaknesses and found out that changing the last digit of the IP he could take control of other rooms.

By the way, the iPad is one of the ten Apple products that the Chinese government has banned to be purchased with public money citing security concerns, according to Bloomberg. Now Apple joins Symantec, Kaspersky and Microsoft whose some of their products have also been rejected by the administration of the Asian giant.

If this exclusion was really motivated by security risks, no one would survive because no product or device is 100% safe. Even a social network like Twitter can be used by cybercriminals to carry out their dirty tricks. In fact, it has been detected that spammers use Twitter url shortener,, to distribute links to pharmacy websites where counterfeit products are sold.

The best way to combat cyber threats is providing solutions. For example, security firms FireEye and Fox-IT have teamed up to offer a free tool that unlocks the files encrypted by CrytoLocker ransomware. No more cybercriminals to pay ransoms in order to recover our files, now we just need to visit

Meanwhile, Google and Microsoft also made their bit to fight another Internet problem, child pornography. A few days ago we told you that Google had reported one of its users after detecting child abuse images in his Gmail account. Now Microsoft seems to have done exactly the same with a OneDrive user. However, these practices have sparked controversy about the privacy of these Web services.

We end with more positive news, especially for residents in Spain. According to a FICO’s study, Spain is one of the safest countries to conduct financial transactions. In fact, financial fraud in this country fell by 4% in 2013 over the previous year. Meanwhile, France and the UK accumulate 62% of the overall fraud in Europe.

What can you do to keep you protected against cyber threats? One of the key points is to stay well informed. Therefore, we invite you to follow us through our social channels (find the links at the right sidebar) or here on our blog.


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